Dan Gluck Gets Us Moving: Improving Business and Productivity with Daily Exercise

Dan Gluck — February 11, 2022


Exer­cise and Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty

A founder and friend, Sean Kel­ly, recent­ly post­ed on LinkedIn that he was think­ing about cre­at­ing an incen­tive pro­gram at his Com­pa­ny, Car­roo, that encour­ages exer­cise to the same degree that they incen­tivize the achieve­ment of quar­ter­ly per­for­mance goals. His the­sis was that even a small amount of dai­ly exer­cise — 20 min­utes per day — would tremen­dous­ly ben­e­fit the mem­bers of his team, his com­pa­ny and the entire world. He asked his LinkedIn net­work for sug­ges­tions on how to incen­tivize his team.

For any­one that knows me, you can imag­ine that I lit up when I read this post. I whole­heart­ed­ly agree with Sean’s the­sis because I believe that dai­ly exer­cise is a key ingre­di­ent for men­tal health, unlock­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and ulti­mate­ly, greater suc­cess.

In this post, I am going to first dive deep­er into why I believe that dai­ly exer­cise will improve busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and then offer my top ten solu­tions for how to incen­tivize team mem­bers to incor­po­rate dai­ly exer­cise into their rou­tine.

The Sci­ence Behind Exer­cise

Numer­ous stud­ies indi­cate that healthy peo­ple live hap­pi­er and more pro­duc­tive lives. One study con­duct­ed at the East­ern Ontario Research Insti­tute found that peo­ple who exer­cised as lit­tle as twice a week for ten weeks felt more com­pe­tent social­ly, pro­fes­sion­al­ly, aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, and ath­let­i­cal­ly. Anoth­er recent study by the CDC sug­gests that exer­cise is not just good for your body, but improves men­tal health as well. The study con­clud­ed that among the par­tic­i­pants that exer­cised, the num­ber of report­ed poor men­tal health days dropped by more than 40%.

The rea­son for this is par­tial­ly root­ed in sci­ence and bio­chem­istry. When exer­cis­ing, the body pro­duces endor­phins, which are chem­i­cals that reduce the per­cep­tion of pain, improve immu­ni­ty, and help you relax. Endor­phins are nat­ur­al mood boost­ers that enhance feel­ings of opti­mism and sat­is­fac­tion. I like to think of them as “hap­pi­ness hor­mones.” Exer­cise pro­motes the gen­er­a­tion and release of endor­phins, while reduc­ing the activ­i­ty of hor­mones such as adren­a­lin and cor­ti­sol, which pro­mote feel­ings of anx­i­ety and ten­sion. As a result, reg­u­lar exer­cise can help you attain a hap­pi­er state of mind, an impact trans­lat­ing to more pro­duc­tive, cre­ative and thought­ful work.

I am proof of these claims. Sim­ply said, when I am exer­cis­ing, I am more ener­gized, pro­duc­tive, and clear mind­ed. When I am not, I often feel lethar­gic, stressed, and less focused. Endor­phins are the most incred­i­ble drug known to mankind. Once I was turned on to the pow­er of this nat­ur­al high, I was addict­ed.  It’s my goal to max­i­mize suc­cess at Pow­er­Plant and our port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, so I will con­tin­ue to exer­cise dai­ly and share this ener­gy with my team and every­one I do busi­ness with.

Top 10 Ways to Incen­tivize Team Mem­bers to Exer­cise Dai­ly

Lead by exam­ple: As the CEO/Founder, it’s your job to lead. My team knows that I am a fit­ness enthu­si­ast and that I work­out every morn­ing at 5:45am. It’s on my cal­en­dar which is open for my entire team to view. While I have a demand­ing work sched­ule and fam­i­ly life, I also con­tin­ue to com­pete in numer­ous races and adven­tures (marathons, trail races, climb­ing expe­di­tions) through­out the year and always add one annu­al “OOCZ” (Out Of Com­fort Zone) race or adven­ture to my cal­en­dar. I do it because I enjoy it, but I also do it because I know it inspires oth­ers.

Talk about it: I talk about my work­outs and ask my team mem­bers about theirs. It is part of my “water cool­er” talk. I do this pur­pose­ful­ly so that it moti­vates every­one and nat­u­ral­ly becomes part of the cul­ture.

Health and fit­ness relat­ed events: PowerPlant’s team retreats and events are not revolved around eat­ing and drink­ing. Instead, our retreats always involve the out­doors and fit­ness. For our most recent retreat, we took the team to Zion Nation­al Park for three days. We rock climbed, hiked, got in some trail runs, and sun­rise yoga ses­sions. Anoth­er one of my favorite events was a cold plunge chal­lenge after a big hike at a team off­site we host­ed in the San­ta Mon­i­ca Moun­tains. And most recent­ly, my busi­ness Part­ner, Mark Ram­pol­la, and I sum­mit­ed Mt. Bak­er (ele­va­tion 10,786’) in Wash­ing­ton State over the course of three days for our “Part­ners Retreat.”

Incen­tive pro­grams and track­ing: There are numer­ous new apps and track­ers to mon­i­tor phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and well­ness. Some of my favorites to check out: Spotsyou.com, Sprout, Wellable, or even engage in a step chal­lenge using your Apple watch or oth­er fit­ness track­ing device.

Health stipend: Pow­er­Plant offers every employ­ee a month­ly health and well­ness stipend that can be applied to gym mem­ber­ships, fit­ness class­es, and/or race reg­is­tra­tions, etc. We have a use it or lose it pol­i­cy and I can tell you that every­one uses it!

Team races/events: Sign your team up for a race. I high­ly rec­om­mend a team focused event such as a Spar­tan Race. I par­tic­u­lar­ly like obsta­cle races because they are more than just a road race, they mim­ic busi­ness. What I mean by this is that you nev­er know what obsta­cle you will encounter on the course, you get mud­dy, you get bruised, you fall on your face, and ulti­mate­ly you have to work with your team and get back on your feet to cross the fin­ish line.

Walk­ing meet­ings: When­ev­er I can, I walk and talk. Zoom fatigue is real. I take calls while walk­ing near­by trails or paths (some­times with a 25 lb weight vest, in case any­one is look­ing to take this idea to the next lev­el). And when­ev­er I can have an inter­nal meet­ing that does not require a com­put­er, we do it “on the move.”

Office Gym: First, if you can add a full gym to your office, that is a great perk. In my pri­or office we had a full gym and karate dojo to train in. If you don’t have the space, then it’s easy and cheap to sim­ply add a pull-up bar, exer­cise bike, some ket­tle bells, TRX straps, and yoga mats in the office. Even if team mem­bers casu­al­ly walk by the pull up bar on their way to the bath­room and com­plete ten pull-ups, that is ten times more than they would have done had it not been there.

In per­son or vir­tu­al team work­outs: Our team recent­ly hiked to the top of Mt. Tam in our office town of Mill Val­ley, just out­side of San Fran­cis­co. It’s a beau­ti­ful 2,500 ft hike that often takes you above the marine lay­er of North­ern CA, with 360-degree views of down­town San Fran­cis­co, Sono­ma, and the Pacif­ic Ocean. We did this at 5:30 am and were back in action for a full day of pro­duc­tive work. Also, dur­ing Covid I led week­ly vir­tu­al boot­camps for our team and port­fo­lio com­pa­ny team mem­bers. I loved see­ing 50+ of us doing burpees on Zoom!

Per­son­al devel­op­ment KPIs/OKRs:This year, in addi­tion to every­one on our team hav­ing per­for­mance OKRs, we added a sec­tion for per­son­al devel­op­ment OKRs. The objec­tive was to encour­age the team to work on things out­side of the office that would ben­e­fit them both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly. I was fas­ci­nat­ed see­ing the diver­si­ty of objec­tives and goals, rang­ing from improv­ing their pub­lic speak­ing capa­bil­i­ties, to study­ing cor­po­rate law, dai­ly jour­nal­ing, etc. But, the one goal every­one shared in com­mon was fit­ness relat­ed. I know Katie’s goal is to run a 7:30 min/mile. I know Jigar’s goal is to work­out five days a week in the gym. I know Mark’s goal is to com­pete in at least one out­rig­ger race. And my team knows I plan to climb a moun­tain and com­pete in the Worlds Tough­est Mud­der. We are now all account­able to each oth­er.

You May Also Be Interested In